Rhodes starting for Scotland is no-brainer for me, says Levein

Huddersfield Town striker Jordan Rhodes will start for Scotland in today’s friendly against Australia at Easter Road.

Manager Craig Levein confirmed the 22-year-old would come in after QPR forward Jamie Mackie pulled out on top of the absence of Craig Mackail-Smith and Kenny Miller.

Rhodes, whose only Scotland cap so far came as a late substitute against Cyprus in November, scored 40 goals for his club last season and eight goals for the Scotland Under-21s.

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“I had it in mind that Jamie Mackie would play but he has a calf strain, so Jordan will play,” Levein said.

“You look at his goalscoring record, it’s a tough one to beat, 40-odd goals.

“He is someone who has played that position for the Under-21s.

“We have a policy of promoting players who have done well for the Under-21 team.

“So it’s a no-brainer, he will start the match.”

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Levein also stated that Blackpool goalkeeper Matt Gilks would make his debut at some stage.

Defender Gary Caldwell believes Scotland can use the visit of Australia to prove they have the strength in depth to challenge for a place at the 2014 World Cup finals.

Levein had been targeting the game as a chance to get a 5-1 defeat by the USA out of their system ahead of the start of the World Cup qualifying campaign against Serbia at Hampden on September 8.

Although the home fans will expect a positive result, Australia are ranked 24 in the world, 22 places above Scotland.

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But Caldwell believes Scotland will show they have the depth to get results when not at full strength.

“Over the last few years we have shown there is a bigger group than the 22 players who can be picked in a squad,” the Wigan centre-back said.

“You just need to look at the squad list and see the amount of players playing in the Premiership in England and the Championship, which is a fantastic league.

“I think the overall quality in the players that are getting picked is better than the groups I have been involved in in the past.”